- While bears will attack and kill horses, they aren’t naturally known enemies.
- Bears are capable of running at speeds comparable to horses (35 mph), in all directions.
- This article covers a video that shows a horse standing up to a grizzly bear.
Camp Chief Hector YMCA is a distinctive camping and environmental education branch that runs all year round and focuses on youth while providing programs for all through summer camps, outdoor schools, weekend activities for adults and their families, and meeting and event spaces. It is situated in Kananaskis Country, a short drive west of Calgary.
Back in late May of 2011, one camper filmed the experience of a lifetime on their phone. There’s a pasture of beautiful horses within the camp that show just how important having each other’s back is.
The footage starts with a visual of a young grizzly bear relatively close to the horses. He waits by the tree line while foraging for food. We have to wonder if he’s considering having a horse for lunch that day.
A couple of the horses turn around, almost to intimidate the apex predator. Bears are notoriously vicious predators.
Power in Numbers
Bears are capable of running at speeds comparable to horses (35 mph), in all directions. If you see a bear in outdoors, do not attempt to flee from it since bears can always catch you. Instead, maintain a lofty posture while waving your arms and speaking in a composed manner.
These horses took a different approach and decided to show the bear they outnumbered him. The average horse can run between 35 and 44 miles per hour. It’s safe to say they could easily outrun a bear if needed.
The two horses standing on their ground move closer to the fence, almost to tell the bear it’s time to leave or things are going to get ugly. Another horse can be seen grazing as a fourth and final stead joins the pack. There’s no equine on the menu today for this juvenile grizzly!
Horses in a herd are better protected from predators and given an extra warning. When it is time to attack a large herd of horses, predators who might try to target only one of them are frequently less courageous. Since horses are flight animals, they will flee from harm rather than confront it head-on. The ones at Camp Chief Hector must’ve been feeling confrontational this day!
One funny comment under the video reads, “Those horses did a good job at standing their ground, I would’ve run away even if there were 100 people with me.” Another person says, “The alphas quietly come to the front. If you’ve ever seen a horse fight, let alone four of them fight one predator, you know that while the bear would inflict some serious injuries, the horses would relatively quickly kill the bear.”
We’re glad these wild animals were able to mind their own business and that there weren’t any injuries.
Do Horses Normally Confront Bears?
All around the United States, there have been countless incidents of both Black and Grizzly bears mauling horses and riders.
While equestrians should use caution in areas known to be bear-inhabited, they may take comfort in the fact that these two mammals are not considered natural enemies. Conflicts like those documented are usually the result of the two animals accidentally crossing paths.
For anyone who encounters a bear in the wild, whether on horseback or not, experts recommend remaining calm, speaking in a low voice, and moving away slowly while remaining in the bear’s line of sight.
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